High school basketball season begins in New Jersey more than a month late
The New Jersey high school basketball season has officially begun – delayed more than a month because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
School officials say that they are hoping that the winter sports season will be just as successful as the fall season.
“We had a great fall season, seeing the kids back in. You know, just getting kids back into the building, seeing them again, giving them the opportunity to socialize. It’s great,” says North Brunswick athletic director Shaun Morrell.
The season will have some restrictions because of the pandemic. No fans or parents will be allowed inside the gym. But schools like North Brunswick are using social media to livestream the games.
“We stream it. We have the NFHS network that is being streamed. We have a YouTube page. We can also have Instagram Live. We’re going to stream basketball, swimming, wrestling and bowling this year,” Morrell says.
The condensed basketball season will feature about six weeks of competition, with teams allowed to play a maximum of 15 games.
“We have to bring our own energy from the people that aren’t in,” says North Brunswick forward Frankie Garbolino. “We have to bring that energy to the court as if there were hundreds of fans in the stands.”
There will also not be a New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association-sponsored postseason tournament. But the players say that it doesn’t matter.
“This season is just about getting out there, having fun and playing ball. Because with everything going on, you never know what’s going to happen. So, we’re just happy to be out here,” Garbolino says.
While there may not be a state tournament, championships may be hosted at the league or conference level as long as teams do not exceed the 15-game maximum.
The season is set to wrap the first week of March.